TMBA 294: A Guide to Finding, Winning, and Creating Location Independent Apprenticeships

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One of the most frustrating parts of the entrepreneurial life script is that when you first hear about it and understand the benefits, you probably aren’t ready to start a business. You know the answer is starting a business, but you aren’t quite sure how to get there yet. We have long been advocates for seeking out an apprenticeship, but it’s not always that easy. How do you get an apprenticeship, where do you go when you find one and what happens after you get one? Over the last couple of years, Vincent Nguyen from has gone through all of these stages himself. I’ve invited him on to the show to talk about his experiences as an apprentice at Empire Flippers and how he has managed to transition from being a successful apprentice into owning his own business.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What motivated Vincent to seek an apprenticeship and what he wanted to get out of it.
  • What Vincent gained from apprenticing with the Empire Flippers.
  • The risks for entrepreneurs and potential apprentices looking to start a relationship.
  • A three part process to creating and winning apprenticeships.
  • Why cultivating your own personal brand is crucial to scoring an apprenticeship.
  • How to achieve exit velocity and take your next steps beyond an apprenticeship.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

Published on 05.14.15
  • Bryan Luoma

    Thanks for the great episode guys. Vincent, I just sent you a meeting request. Looking forward to talking to you about FB dark posts.

  • Austin Robinson

    This is why I listen to the TMBA podcast – timely, solid advice once again.

    Especially the idea of niching down and not being afraid to be “the guy.” I’ve spent the last week running around to create an “all things to all people” marketing service, and I really needed to hear this today.

    And the idea of apprenticeship has been a source of both excitement and anxiety for me as someone who is early on in their entrepreneurial journey. I feel like a lot of others struggle with this as well. I think it’s because the traditional view of “apprenticeship” is so emotionally charged and steeped in misconceptions, and it can obscure people’s judgement.

    Well, this comment is way too long – but I wanted to say thanks for the super actionable episode.


  • Awesome, Bryan! Can’t wait to talk with you. Let me know if you’ve got any questions prior to the call. You can reach me at

  • Yo Austin! Glad this episode resonated with you.

    On niching down: do you feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin? Think you’re slowing down on improving and becoming really freaking good at one channel because you’ve got 10 others to worry about?

    If the answer’s yes to either, it’d be a good idea to figure out which channel you’re most confident about. Choose the one you know could deliver positive ROI on as much of a consistent basis as possible.

  • Great podcast. I would also suggest looking for a mentor at the company you work for if there are people that are well regarded and high performing. For those of us still in the grind, mentors, even at the same company can provide quite a substantial amount of knowledge. It gets to the “never eat alone” mentality.

  • Austin Robinson

    Definitely. Your story’s really inspiring :) – I’m going to pick a specific channel and try more of a Growth Ninja style approach, especially the clear value proposition right off the bat, and a clean layout that explains exactly what you do.

  • Kevin

    Hey guys, just want to say THANKS for the mention and kind words! Vincent I’m stoked for your business and what you’ve been able to achieve, great show, solid detailed advice as usual. Cheers and hope to see both of you soon somewhere!

  • And I have to say thanks for the great conversations that inspired GN! Wouldn’t be here without ya, Kevin.

  • Great idea! Mentors can be found everywhere. Once you’re intentional about finding people you can learn from, you’ll begin to see why that Jim Rohn quote is so popular:

    “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

  • cheers Kevin! honored so glad you gave it a listen!

  • great point!

  • thank you Austin I really appreciate that

  • good luck!

  • rock on! :)

  • Tung Tran

    Love this week episode!

    Vincent you grew so fast since our last meet at DCBKK.

    Hope to catch up in person soon.

  • Couldn’t have grown like this without the right company!

    See you soon!

  • Austin Robinson

    thanks Dan!

  • thanks Tung so glad you dug it!!!!

  • Another “thanks”. Just wanted to say I feel like you’re answering me At Scale, with the podcast. (Know I’m not the only one asking about this stuff, but it must be in the zeitgeist.) The material you’ve been digging into in the last few weeks has been getting me where I Live.

    Below is abridged from an email, and I worried it might be too long to post on the comments, but here goes!

    I feel like actually the 80/20 of success in this entire thing might be the ability to have dialogues with “influencers” without annoying them (one reason I”m trying to keep this short;). When I wrote down your 3 steps for an apprenticeship, it was #2 that made my heart skip a beat – but I think that’s why “everybody doesn’t do” entrepreneurship, or at least why a lot of us Dink Around with blogs, SEO and PPC instead of going the much faster Ten True Clients route.

    And getting to know “influencers” in a non-annoying way is probably the real “dip”. Listening to Vincent’s story about getting Neil Patel and others to make him a video so he could impress the Empire Flippers gave me butterflies. But if he hadn’t done it, he might be working in a cubicle in DesMoines instead of running his own business.

    Still, it’s not without an element of risk. As Dan and Ian say on their own podcast, sometimes initiating contact “can hurt”. I’ve found a few things in my extremely limited experience: 1) imagine yourself in their shoes – you’ve got 100 emails to get through. What would annoy you, and what would inspire you to respond, 2) don’t “force” a fit – wait until you’re actually inspired by something an influencer said or have some real insight, 3) don’t take it personally if they don’t respond. Imagine yourself with your full inbox – maybe something will make you smile, but you can’t respond to everyone every time.

    Apropos of which, this comment is extreeeeeemely long. Anyway continued thanks to you guiding me along the way as I cut my own way through the jungle;)

  • Argento

    First time I join the discussion. Here is Andrés from Brazil. I follow you from more than a year, and I have to say, I really appreciate all the love you spread with TMBA.

    This episode resonated especially with me because I was in an apprenticeship and I didn’t know! :)

    4 years ago I started helping a friend of mine with his business, building his website and as a graphic designer. Nothing professional, but better that what he can do. I worked for free without expecting anything, just for the sake of friendship. His business grew and was doing well, but he had to quit to pursue another big project. Now he needs a CEO to run his company and the first person he thought was: ME! I lack lots of skills (which I hope to cope with asap) but by this time I know lots of insights and he trust me. Result: I was building “my” company without being aware :)

    For who is new to the scene, I would advice: try always to think what’s the next step, either on the business you are helping growing, or in your own path in your carreer/business.


  • hey Argento thanks so much for listening and commenting! sounds like we were in very similar situations, and it’s a sign of your chops that he identified you to take over. with you the best!

  • hey Nate in honestly think you are on to something, Vincent it just-so-happens is an excellent well, for lack of a better term, ‘networker’ and that’s one of the most time-efficient ways to start a new business imo. Get yourself into a social network, build a reputation for yourself, earn their trust, and you’ll be in pretty damn good shape, especially if you have a service or product that benefits those people and as with many services, depends on trust. i thought of this when i was listening back to this episode how for some people the whole thing might sound cliquey and in-crowdy, the truth is that it’s a small world of people who are really passionate about this stuff and they are easy to find, network, and become friends with.. it’s not the only way to skin the cat, but it’s one that’s resonated and worked for me.

  • “the whole thing might sound cliquey and in-crowdy”

    Glad you brought this up. It definitely COULD feel that way and it’s easy to assume it’s like that everywhere when you see influencers mentioning the same people over and over (and getting mentioned back by those guys). But that’s a small sub-set.

    People are constantly helping each other all over the place, not just their best friends.

    And the easiest way to make friends, powerful friends, is to be a value-giver. There are millions of ways to do this. Figure out what your skillsets are.

    Is it introducing people to another person you think could add value to their lives? If you’re good at connecting people, you’re going to be LOVED by everyone.

    Is it creating awesome graphics? Offer to “spice up” some articles you love. Take a screenshot of their entire article (with their site layout and all), open up Photoshop, and show them exactly what they could expect the finished product to look like live.

    So many ways to get “in”.

  • Nice, Argento (and thanks for entering the discussion!)

    You’d be surprised with how many things will indirectly affect you in the future, good or bad.

    The BEST way to add value is to do it without expectations.

    I don’t mean this in a karmic “be a good person for the sake of it” kind of way–though that’s not bad either.

    But when you just happen to be a person who is constantly adding value, the odds will just work in your favor through sheer volume & probability.

    Not to mention the fact that people pick up on ulterior motives rather well.

    People are most attracted to honesty and transparency, much like your friend there.

  • Dylan Ejem

    Tons of valuable lessons learned from this episode. This is what I wanted to hear from the get go. Recognizing abundance everywhere mixed with the humbling acceptance of one’s limitations can lead to a path where you get your focus on the one thing that you do best. Great work, Vincent! I truly admire the hustle muscle!

  • thanks Dylan!

  • Thanks, Dylan!

    “Hustle muscle”, stealing that… :)

  • Freddy Lansky

    I recentely met Vincent in Phoenix Arizona at a conference and decided to hire him to do my facebook ads, I couldn’t be happier the dude is a monster.

    Good for you for breaking free of the script at a younger age instead of waiting and just following your gut.

  • Thanks, Freddy!

    The idea of waiting for college graduation to do anything remarkable would’ve been one of the worst-case scenarios for me in my opinion. I’d still be waiting another year if I were still in school!

  • :D awesome to hear man!

  • Hey all, I am hiring for an entrepreneur-in-residence/online advertising apprentice position right now: If you’re looking for one of these positions this could be very relevant to you.

  • rock on! :D

  • Nice! I’m thinking of rolling out my own apprenticeship program for GN as well.

  • AWES

  • Gwen

    Yes this is very inspired. Its so right when you coos to not work for someone who makes you feel bad. Its not worth with any price.

  • Gwen

    Sorry, I meant “choose”

  • True that!

  • Kyle G

    One of the most valuable episodes to me so far. This ep. gives us wanabes who don’t yet have the DC to turn to a few action-items. It is strangely exhilarating to find myself at square one after endless climbing on the corp-ladder. Big thank you, as always!

  • rock on Kyle thanks for that and glad you dug the episode !

  • Yes! I personally love the beginning (when everything is new and sexy). Wish you the best of luck with everything you’ve got coming up. :)

  • Would-be apprentices! Taylor Pearson put something together that should make the apprenticeship hunt a lot easier:

    Check it out! :)

  • Jason Lee

    Is anyone currently looking for an apprentice who’s eager to hustle? Preferably in the digital marketing/paid advertising or FBA space.

    I realize there’s the getapprenticeship site but not sure how active it is

  • nitu vema

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